I was my mother’s guest on a five-day cruise that originated in New York City and visited two ports in Canada. Our trip started on her birthday, and since my mom loves to cruise, it was the perfect way to celebrate.
I have never been to New York City, so as the shuttle made its way from the airport to the cruise terminal, I was gawking out the bus windows as best I could. My husband had visited there many times while employed by Morgan Stanley. They were the largest tenant in the World Trade Center at the time of the terrorist attack on 9/11. I actually thought I might never see New York in person because my husband had friends and co-workers there that day and never wanted to return.
We were there just a few weeks before the 22nd anniversary, and as I peered down the streets, I had flashbacks of the news coverage of that terrible day. I was in the area where all of that smoke and debris was, where terrified people ran for their lives while first responders rushed in. This day was so perfect and beautiful, and people bustled around as usual, so one might never guess that this was that same area.
I’m not a fan of the embarking process, but once we were on board, that ordeal was soon a memory. My mother had booked an exterior room with a balcony, and our steward told us that we’d be able to see the Statue of Liberty from our room. The water was calm as the ship left port and made its way through the bay to the Atlantic. Taking it all in from our balcony, I took way too many pictures of the beautiful cityscape.
Just as promised, we had a beautiful view of the statue! Being a hobby genealogist, I thought of all my ancestors who had come through Ellis Island. I can’t imagine traveling on those ships back then. How happy they must have been to reach America!
After a full day at sea, our first port was St. John. While there, Mom and I took a bus tour of the city. There were beautiful gardens, homes and architecture. Through our tour guide we learned more about the city’s history.
The driver gave us some time to explore the city market, before taking us on to see the Reversing Falls.
From there, the bus took us to The Reversing Falls in the Bay of Funday. They claim the world’s most extreme tides. Twice each day, at high tide, the water rushing into Saint John Harbour causes the Saint John River to flow backwards for a time. It was interesting to briefly visit the site of this natural wonder.
Late that afternoon, our ship left St. John and headed towards Halifax.
The next day was a full day at sea as we headed towards Halifax. We arrived in port on the following morning. It was the beginning of another beautiful day.
Mom and I took a bus tour in Halifax also. As the bus wound around town, our tour guide told us about some of the things we were seeing. I really didn’t know anything about their city, so I enjoyed learning about it.
We stopped and walked through the Halifax Public Gardens which were, of course, beautiful. Here are some of my favorite pictures:
The highlight of Halifax for me, though, was a visit to Fairview Lawn Cemetery where victims of the Titanic were buried. Our tour guide did a great job of telling us interesting stories and answering all of our group’s questions.
That night as I tried to go to sleep, I could hear a fog horn sounding eerily in the distance. Nervously, I thought about the trip to the cemetery and imagined what they went through. Our ship was gliding through waters not all that far from the final resting place of other Titanic victims who were buried at sea. I can’t even imagine!
The next day we headed back towards New York. It was a rainy foggy day, but the only bad weather of the trip. Overall, the weather couldn’t have been better. The trip gave mom and I time to have meaningful conversations over wonderful meals.
Our trip had perfect timing, as just a few weeks later, Hurricane Lee was threatening that area.
Thank you, God, for beautiful weather, calm seas, and the gift of time with my mother!
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